2009 Fall Baseball Letter #23

Hi Guys,

I thought I sent this out last night but I find that it did not get sent for some reason to everyone.  So, here it is again and I apologize if you received it twice.

Our orientation meeting is tonight.  Most of you have let me know that you can make it or not.  Thanks for being professional about this task. 

Game time is 6:00 pm.  The 1st pitch will be at 6:00 pm sharp.  We will not wait for you to find your way to the site.  This is part of being an umpire - knowing that we need to be on time for our games to start on time.

Below is an updated Outline for our meeting with some of the instructors duties listed.  Also, there are the last 10 questions from the 1st base mechanics stuff we have been sending out since last Saturday.


August 19, 2009

The International School of Minnesota

6385 Beach Road
Eden Prairie, MN   55344-5234


1.     Greeting and Sign-in.  We will be meeting in the gymnasium.  Upon entering the main entrance to the building, you will be going down stairs at the end of the foyer.  One of us will be there directing you downstairs.  Thanks to Chad Eischens for the use of this fine facility.

2.     Distribution and Purchase of the Red PBUC Manual for the 2-Umpire System.  LG

3.     Answering of questions from the umpires to our staff.  All Involved

4.     Test for Things We Say and Do – Developing a PLAN – What situations do you need to plan for – I mentioned trip to the mound, cleaning the plate, etc.  Other ideas are why 2 ball bags and not just one; using your mask more efficiently; handling the chirping from the dugout, etc.  LG

5.     Review of the evaluation form and what it entails.  LG

6.     Positioning on the bases – A, B & C and why we expect umpires to be in these starting positions.  Demonstration and Practice Session.  Adam Berg

7.     Angle/Distance demonstration and discussion with a brief practice session.  LG

8.     Pickoffs and Steals – Demonstration with a brief practice session.  John Priester

9.     Pivoting – Demonstration and a brief practice session.  All of us – JP, AB, CE & LG

10.   Step up, Turn and Face the ball.  Pause, Read and React.  Double Play footwork.  John Priester

11.   Jim Evans – 13 Plate Criteria - LG

12.   Plate Demonstration and calling balls and strikes.  Choosing a stance.  Adam Berg

13.   Wrap-up & Miscellaneous.  Everyone present.

For a map to The International School of Minnesota you might go to www.mshsl.org for the activity page for the Minnesota State High School League and use the pull down menu for the schools and push the I key to pull up the schools that begin with I and then scroll down to (The) International School of Minnesota and select it.  From there you will be able to click on the map to the school for directions and the map.

More information will follow soon in the next few days about fall baseball.  Stay Tuned.

Remember, that the first games begin on August 22 and the last games are scheduled for October 4.  All game assignments have been made at this time and all have been accepted except 3 as of this date.

We hope to see as many of the umpires as we can at our orientation meeting on August 19, 2009 at 6 pm.  We promise that we will be finished by 8:30 pm at the latest.  Remember to wear activity clothing for our meeting as you will be doing some physical activity.  It is not just a discussion but an active learning session.

Larry Gallagher

41.  Describe the BU’s action when a ball is hit slowly up the first base line that will require a fair or foul decision.   There are two ways to do this but Jim Evans manual has the plate umpire make the fair/foul decision and the BU just busts to his angle.  On a hard hit ball and other schools of thought are to have the base umpire get the fair/foul from the base and beyond no matter what the situation is.  

42.  What defines position I am not sure what this question is asking.  I am taking a stab at what it means by saying position is where we try to find the optimal spot for each play we encounter.  For every play, there is an ideal position to be in.  Such as getting the best angle for the play, the correct distance for the play.  Being able to see between the tag attempt and the runner is of utmost importance.  On forcce plays we want to be a few feet further away than on a tag play.  On many plays we must be able to make adjustments based on the direction of the throw, the direction of the slide, the type of tag attempt that is made, etc. 

43.  Which is more important:  Proper angle or proper distance?   Proper angle  

44.  What creates proper timing?   The proper use of your eyes.  

45.  Which is more important:  Proper timing or proper position?   I don’t have any substantive reason for my answer but I believe proper timing is more important.  Why? Because I see a lot of umpire’s in lousy positions still get the call correct because they have good timing.  In fact, many of the major league guys do not take the correct position on many plays and still get them correct.    

46.  With no one on base, when should the BU hustle into the infield and stay ahead of the BR?   On any base hit, any fly ball that he does not go out on and on any ball that gets past the infielder by an error.   On an overthrow at 1st base, you will need to be able to get inside the batter-runner and be able to get to 2nd base ahead of him or even to 3rd base if the ball is toward the outfield and no one is backing up.  There are probably a few other reasons too. 

47.  On throws to first, will the BU ever be positioned directly in the baseline between first and second?  Explain.   Yes, on some throws that originate from the “imaginary box.”  The box that was described earlier in this Q & A.  Basically most balls that the throw originates from the home plate area is when the BU should strive to take the throw in the 1st to 2nd baseline.  However, if the 1st baseman or 2nd baseman is taking the throw with their left foot to the inside of the base; the BU will be straight lined.  If they are taking it off the front corner, then this is a good position.  

48. Name four disadvantages for going into foul territory for force plays at first base.         1) The base will sometimes block your vision if the pitcher touches or does not touch the inside edge of the base.        2) The ability to get back ahead of the BR if there is an overthrow.  I can’t think of any others at this time.  

49.  How high is the first base bag?   3-5 inches.  This size will keep you from seeing the foot touch or miss the base and therefore, you do not want the base between you and the runner or the fielder that is fielding the throw. 

50.  Explain the difference in making a legal tag of a base and a legal tag of a runner.   A legal tag of the base may be done with any part of the body as long as the fielder has possession of the ball.  A legal tag of the runner must be done with the ball in the bare hand, the glove only or the ball in the glove-hand combination.  

51.  Which umpire has initial responsibility for calling a runner’s lane violation?  Why?   The home plate umpire.  Because he does not have to focus on the safe or out at first base as much as the BU.  If he is doing his job properly, he is following the BR up the 1st baseline, straddling the line.  He should watch the release of the throw and then watch the BR’s position in relationship to the 45’ line, observe the play at 1st and help his partner if there is a swipe tag or pulled foot and also is responsible for overthrows into dead ball territory. 

News Flash

*NW General Membership Meeting - TBD 2020

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